Strategy for boosting and raising the profile of commerce in Barcelona for 2017-2019

Commerce has always been and will continue to be a strategic sector for cities, given that it is the cornerstone of economic activity, the configuration of urban landscapes and social integration.

Given its power to generate and distribute wealth and employment, commercial activity determines the economic vitality of urban areas. For our local economy, it represents some very significant economic values: in the last quarter of 2016, the city’s commerce included more than 149,500 workers and over 16,000 companies with employees. This data represents, respectively, 14.5% and 21.9% of employment and the city's business network, and generates almost 15% of Barcelona’s GDP (2015).

Most of the neighbourhoods that make up the city of Barcelona have a compact urban layout, susceptible to creating spaces with similar uses, which greatly impact on proximity trade. Trade that is a determining factor for social cohesion and integration, based on equity and equal opportunities. Trade that determines the layout of districts and neighbourhoods with their own identities, unique and culturally diverse activities, streets and public places as spaces for neighbourhood relations, and markets as catalytic agents for neighbourhoods... In short, commerce goes beyond being considered a strategic economic sector: commerce is what makes the city.

Within the field of commerce, Barcelona City Council has already been working on most of the targets set out and developed in this Government Measure from different points of view. Firstly, by promoting shared responsibility with the players representing the sector, which are able to help us move forward in the joint construction of the city’s commercial model. Secondly, by thinking about neighbourhoods capable of meeting the requirements of city residents and, amongst those, requirements for purchasing combined with leisure and other social uses. Thirdly, by advancing in terms of integrated management of mobility, urban design, accessibility, safety, and public and private service management, which give the ten districts and 73 neighbourhoods of Barcelona personality, identity and attractions they can share. It will be precisely these areas in which our proximity trade will be able to create innovative, sustainable businesses that are integrated into the urban, physical or digital landscape. Fourthly, we also think it is essential for the City Council to help and facilitate tools aimed at improving commercial competition in order to tackle the challenges that commerce faces in a global and digital world. Fifthly and finally, we want to work on strengthening the commercial sector by assisting in the transformation of the association model for commercial entities. The existence of transformational, innovative and competitive leadership depends on these associations.

Our commitment is to work towards a unique, sustainable and attractive city, in which commerce, urban development and the quality of life of city residents form an inseparable union. With this commitment in mind, we present the eight strategic lines and 43 measures to enable the reinforcement and projection of commerce in Barcelona (proximity, digital immersion, professionalisation, association and APEU).